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  • December 10, 2009

    Update: Accused Poacher Of World-Class 8-Pointer Now Says He Found Deer Dead

    By Dave Hurteau

    First, he told wildlife officials he killed the giant 8-pointer with a bow on Halloween night. Then authorities determined that the deer was killed with a gun, and therefore out of season. Now Troy Reinke of Cannon Falls, MN, says he didn’t kill the buck at all, but rather found it dead.

    From the Twin Cities Pioneer Press:

    In an exclusive interview with the Pioneer Press, Troy Alan Reinke repeated an earlier claim he made to investigators.

    "I found that deer on my four-wheeler on the east side of the property where I hunt," said Reinke in his first statement to the media. "I didn't shoot that deer. I don't have any guns and I don't hunt with guns."

  • December 9, 2009

    Bestul: Winding Down the Rut

    By Scott Bestul

    For practical purposes, this is the last rut report I’ll file for this hunting season (I do have an Alabama hunt scheduled for the end of next month, and I’ll file a report when I’m there). As I noted last week, the rut is a fading flower across much of whitetail range, and recent severe winter weather will put food at the top of the whitetail list of basic needs now.

    That said, unbred does and a certain percentage of fawns will come into an estrous cycle this month. A few years back I noted a sudden spike in big buck kills around the 10th of December in my area. When I mentioned this to a hunting buddy he said “happens every year at this time. And if you do the math, it makes sense. We’re about one month past the peak breeding date.” Since does “cycle” about every 28 days, it did make sense and I was embarrassed I hadn’t figured it out on my own.

  • December 7, 2009

    Wisconsin Senator Demands Firing of State Deer Managers

    By Scott Bestul

    Wisconsin senate majority leader Russ Decker isn't just mad at his state's DNR deer managers, he's calling for their heads on a platter. Last Friday Decker accused DNR deer program leaders of “decimating” the deer herd and asked that the experts who implemented years of herd-reducing regs be fired. You can read the full article here.

    In recent years, Wisconsin has instituted several strategies designed to decrease whitetail numbers. The most controversial was ...

  • December 4, 2009

    How to Skin a Deer With Your Truck

    By Scott Bestul

    I’ve always kind of enjoyed skinning deer, assuming I only have to deal with an animal or two. But on some occasions—firearms season in particular—it’s not uncommon to have multiple deer to disrobe, and getting the job done becomes more daunting. That’s when any shortcut is welcome. Including this one.

  • December 3, 2009

    Update: Record Poached 8-Pointer Taken With a Rifle

    By Dave Hurteau

    From the Pioneer Press:

    The world-class eight-point buck poached this fall in Goodhue County was shot with a rifle, not a bow, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said Monday.

    Lead fragments found in the animal's hide show that a firearm was used, the DNR said.

    Troy Alan Reinke, 32, of Cannon Falls, who is accused of illegally killing the whitetail on Halloween night, now might face additional charges because the firearms season was not open Oct. 31.

    More Whitetail Headlines:

    Minnesota Firearms Harvest Down

    Wisconsin Harvest May Be “Worst in 27 Years”

  • December 2, 2009

    Weekly Rut Report

    By Scott Bestul

    Across much of whitetail range, peak breeding is largely over. I’ve talked to friends in New York, Ohio and North Dakota, and their recent observations mirror mine; the majority of the does have been “tended to”, the smaller bucks are getting tired out, and the big boys aren’t quite as visible as they were in past weeks.

  • December 1, 2009

    The Tribute: Behold, The Backstrap

    By T. Edward Nickens

    Thoughts on eating venison from Editor-at-Large T. Edward Nickens.

    Sure, the tenderloins are a more immediate delicacy, but they are a fleeting pleasure, really, small and flirtatious and destined to leave you wanting more. It is the longissimus dorsi muscle—the vaunted backstrap—that aids the deer in its soaring bounds, its ­nitrogen-​powered, zero-to-see-ya-later speeds, and its incomparable edibility.

  • December 1, 2009

    The Plea: Remember the Liver

    By T. Edward Nickens

    Thoughts on eating venison from Editor Anthony Licata.

    When my dad was teaching me to hunt deer, he’d run through a checklist before we left the house. License? Got it. Cartridges? Yep. Deer drag? Uh-huh. Empty plastic bread bag? Of course. How else was I to carry home that once-a-year treat: fresh venison liver?

    I still pack a bag for liver, but I seem to be the exception judging from the strange looks I get from my hunting companions as I reach into the entrails of their field-dressed deer to pluck that glorious purple slab out of the pile.

  • December 1, 2009

    The Manifesto: Eat What You Kill

    By T. Edward Nickens

    Thoughts on eating venison from F&S contributor Steven Rinella.

    Why should you eat the deer that you kill? For a moment, let’s dismiss the obvious reasons. Forget the nutritional value of venison, which has higher protein levels and less fat than domesticated, grain-­fattened beef and pork. Set aside the flavor, which is more substantial and interesting than anything you’ll find at the grocery. Never mind the economic benefits of a pursuit that can reward a day’s work with enough meat to feed you for a year. And toss aside how properly stored venison allows you to relive the memories from a great season around your family’s dinner table.

  • December 1, 2009

    The Ritual: After Death, Before Venison

    By T. Edward Nickens

    Thoughts on eating venison from author and F&S contributor Rick Bass.

    It’s not my place at all to suggest a right way or a wrong way. My own view is that if a post-kill ritual comes naturally, fine. But if it doesn’t, it’s as disrespectful to fake as it is to not even consider one in the first place. I don’t much like hearing other hunters whoop and shout and high-five following the occasions when they are fortunate enough to find an animal—I don’t care for that at all. But I usually hunt far enough into the backcountry that that curious aversion of mine generally takes care of ­itself—self-selected against such intrusion by distance and terrain.